Yesterday was National Pigs in a Blanket Day, another random food holiday I only knew about thanks to a foodie friend who mentioned it to me. Pigs in a blanket are among Shane's favorite appetizers so I knew if I mentioned the holiday to him, he'd ask if I was going to make them. I planned ahead, knowing I wasn't in the mood for our homemade go-to recipe, and added pretzel dogs to the menu this week instead! I don't even really like hot dogs that much, but wrap a soft pretzel around one and it becomes an entirely different story. Mmmm, carbs! I've had these pretzel dogs bookmarked for ages, and even though I'm not technically sure if they qualify as pigs in a blanket, I'm going with it :)
These were a lot quicker to put together than I expected. Yes, the pretzel dough involves yeast, but even if you're not 100% comfortable working with yeast, this is a super simple dough - promise. You toss all of the ingredients into your stand mixer, let it work its magic for about 5 minutes and you're rewarded with a smooth shiny dough. (You could definitely do this by hand too, if you don't have a stand mixer.) Let it rise (it needs less than an hour) then you're ready to shape and roll around the hot dogs. After a quick dip in a baking soda bath and a few minutes in the oven, you have pretzel dogs!
I've yet to meet a soft pretzel I didn't love, and these were no exception. Soft and chewy, topped with a liberal coating of salt and wrapped around our favorite hot dogs - they were completely irresistible! I actually made the full amount of dough, but only wrapped half as many hot dogs as the recipe called for. Shane would probably disagree, but I didn't really think we needed to eat 8 hot dogs for dinner. The leftover dough was used to make pretzel bites for us to snack on later that night. I might just be coming around on hot dogs, so long as you skip the hot dog rolls and serve them in pretzels :)
pretzels adapted from Alton Brown, method via Fake Ginger (originally from A Dash of Sass)
22 oz (about 4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 F)
2 oz (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
8 hot dogs, halved
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
pretzel salt or coarse salt
Add the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, water, and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until the dough comes into a rough ball. Knead on low speed for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic (it should pull away from the sides of the bowl). Transfer the dough to a large bowl that's been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 50 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the 10 cups of water and the baking soda in a large stockpot or roasting pan and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto your work surface. Divide it into 16 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into approximately a 12-inch rope. Wrap the rope around one halved hot dog - be sure to pinch the ends very well to seal (to reduce the likelihood that the dough unravels when you boil in the next step). Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you've wrapped all of the dogs.
One at a time, boil the pretzel dogs in the baking soda/water mixture for 30 seconds, transferring them to a wire rack afterward using a slotted spoon or spider strainer. Repeat with all 16 pretzel dogs. Transfer the dogs to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with the pretzel salt.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the pretzels are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve with mustard or your favorite dipping sauce.
Makes 16 pretzel dogs